Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writing Retreats and Inertia

At last weekend’s writing retreat, I made huge progress on my novel. Since I returned, my revisions have ground to a halt. This brings me to the concept of inertia. 

Inertia: a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by an external force.  

At a writing retreat, revisions are in motion. Everyone was pushing their projects forward, all day long and into the evening. At every retreat, I relearn that immersing myself in a project leads to clearer thinking about it. This year, I discovered that solving problems in early chapters hinted at ways to fix the metaphorical train wreck near the end. 

On Sunday afternoon, when I left the retreat, I’d only started to clean up that daunting train wreck. Household chores and daily activities are significant external forces that shift my revisions into resting mode. Frustration over the train wreck was another inhibitory external force. 

If I want to finish this draft, I must become the external force that kicks revisions into gear again.   


Natalie Aguirre said...

Good luck with the revisions. I know what you mean about household details and the rest of life making it hard to make time to write. Good luck finding time and doing your revisions.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Thanks, Natalie. I made a little progress yesterday. I hope your writing is going well.

Kristin Lenz said...

My online writing class gave me that same kind of push, and now that it has ended, I came to a halt. But my mentor said something similar to what you discovered about solving problems in early chapters. I had been trying so hard to power through to the end, to just get a complete draft done, no matter how ugly, but he encouraged me to go back and fix some of the early motivation problems before going too far forward. Good luck!

Ann Finkelstein said...

Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture when you're working through a draft. I got comments about two problems at the same time, so I realized fixing one would help the other.